Who’d believe it … the 00s are here

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 30, 1999

I once heard a lecture from an energetic history professor in a large auditorium. He stood at the top of the stairs and announced, &uot;Imagine this is the dawn of time.&uot; Then he bounded down the stairs and balanced his two feet on the last step. &uot;This is the last 100 years,&uot; he said.

It was a visual lesson I remembered recently when standing in a grocery store aisle that offered special items like &uot;Millennios&uot; — Cheerios with an extra &uot;2&uot; thrown in — and Twinkies in a silver Y2K package.

I guess those are supposed to help us last the dark days ahead if the lights go out, our computers crash and the ATMs quit working.

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It seems everyone is cashing in on millennium fever. I guess I’m one of those purists who believes the new millennium won’t actually start until next year, with the year 2001. Because there technically was no &uot;year 0,&uot; this millennium began with the year 1001. So I think the next millennium begins next New Year’s Eve. But what fun is it to wait a year?

Some people seem to be riding the fence on whether to call midnight tonight the dawn of the new millennium. I’ve noticed some magazines and TV networks are compromising and simply calling it the turn of the century.

But it’s still pretty cool just to write the year &uot;2000.&uot;

I’m excited to be able to witness history — and to document it for our readers.

Like most people, I never thought this year was actually going to come. When I was a child, I figured the year 2000 was so far away that that should be the year I could get married.

Well, it’s a day away now, and I’m nowhere near walking down the aisle, so I guess it was closer than I thought.

I can’t imagine what the world will see in the next 100 years, much less the next 1,000 years.

We tend to think of this past century as one of great progress — but just in the last 100 years we’ve seen two world wars, the atomic bomb and the build-up of nuclear arsenals.

And surely no one would have dreamed something as horrible as the Holocaust could have happened just 60 years ago, in the middle of a century filled with technological and scientific progress.

Still, the past century also saw great inventions — television, computers, the Internet, that white stuff in the middle of Oreos — and great discoveries such as penicillin and the Beatles.

But when you look at the whole of time, the last 100 years, and even the last 1,000 years, are just a drop in the bucket.

When it comes right down to it, I guess &uot;2000&uot; is just a number, something unique that will sit at the top of our newspaper pages and be written on our checks.

The toughest part will be coming up with a name for the next decade — &uot;the 00s&uot;? &uot;The Zeros&uot;?

When it’s all said and done, I think we’ll all wake up tomorrow and begin another day, another month, another year.

But maybe all of those zeros will inspire most, if not all of us in the world, to begin with a clean slate. To be a little kinder, a little more peaceful, a little more giving.

Or, in words better said by the theme of the Roman Catholic Church’s Jubilee 2000, the new millennium gives us the chance to &uot;Open wide the doors to Christ.&uot;

Now that would be progress.

Kerry Whipple is a senior staff writer at The Democrat. She can be reached at 446-5172, ext. 262, or by e-mail at kerry.whipple@natchezdemocrat.com.